The ‘Rio boom’ that did not happen
(My new American Thinker post)
Why do cities host Olympic games?
The official answer is always “pride” or to project “modernity” as was the case of Mexico in 1968. Back then, Mexico used the Olympics to project a modern image with skyscrapers, expressways, and a growing middle class.
The unofficial, or the other answer, is that they are hoping to create an economic boom. In Brazil’s case, there is a great rivalry between Rio and Sao Paulo. We understand that kind of rivalry in Texas thanks to Dallas vs. Houston.
So far, the boom did not happen in Rio after the 2016 Olympics. Let’s check with Dom Phillips:
Three months after its successful staging of the Summer Olympics, Brazil’s cultural hub should be riding high. Instead it is a financial, political, crime-ridden mess.
The Rio de Janeiro state government is broke, struggling to pay salaries. On Tuesday, riot police fired tear gas, rubber bullets and percussion grenades at public-sector workers protesting a proposed austerity package. Among the protesters: police, firefighters and teachers. Some of the protesters hurled rocks and fireworks back at the riot police.
Two former governors have been arrested, one accused of vote-buying, the other of running a vast corruption ring. Prosecutors are investigating billions of dollars in state tax exemptions that benefited luxury jewelers, construction companies and even brothels. And violent crime continues to surge, along with allegations of execution-style mass killings by overtaxed police.
Rather than the bright, post-Olympic future they were promised, many Cariocas — as Rio’s citizens are known — fear the city is doubling down on the chaos and corruption of its past.
All of this is happening at a time when Brazil is undergoing political corruption scandals and its economy is lousy. This is from CNN Money:
About 12 million Brazilians are now out of work, up from 8.8 million a year ago, recent government figures show.
On Tuesday officials announced that Brazil’s industrial production declined so much in August, it wiped out the gains from the past five months.
We remind you that Brazil is one of the Top GDPs in the world. In other words, a lousy economy in Brazil drags down a lot of South Amerca.
As always, there are a few lessons for all from the mess in Rio.
The first lesson is that crony capitalism will always make the connected rich and the disconnected angry. The stories of politicians and business leaders toasting champagne and adding to their fortunes are now filling the front pages. Let’s give a cheer for crony capitalism!
The second lesson is that these Olympics games are just too much for most countries to digest. They force countries to build stadia and housing units that lie empty after the event.
It leaves you wondering if the whole darn thing was worth it. So far, most people in Brazil will scream “no” and add a Portuguese expletive!
P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.